Many fitness models recommend integrating fasting into the daily routine. Even doctors do not deny the numerous health benefits associated with fasting. It can help tackle problems like obesity which is a decades-old issue in the United States. Fasting also helps boost metabolism, fight fatigue, and improve immunity!
Although there are different fasting methods, all serve to restrict food and nutrients. Today, the most prevalent type of fasting is intermittent fasting. It is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of eating and fasting.
Fasting is a significant part of multiple religions and cultures worldwide. It is no surprise that fasting dates back to as early as the 5th Century BCE. An eye-opening testament to its medicinal value is that abstinence from food and drink (Medical Fasting) used to be a recommendation to patients with specific ailments by the Greek physician Hippocrates, the same Hippocrates who wrote the Hippocratic oath that doctors take today.
So, with all these countless benefits, can fasting help cure the most common anorectal disease in America? First, let's recap what hemorrhoids are. Then we will elaborate on today's topic, and by the end of this article, you will have a better idea of what fasting can help you accomplish in this regard.
Hemorrhoids or Piles are caused by the inflammation and swelling of the veins of the anus. The veins swell due to trauma to the walls of the anus or increased pressure in the lower abdomen. Hemorrhoids can cause severe pain and discomfort to the affected individual.
Causes of hemorrhoids include chronic constipation, strenuous bowel movements, anal intercourse, a low-fiber diet, obesity, and prolonged sitting.
Common symptoms of hemorrhoids include rectal bleeding, itching and irritation, painful bowel movements, and pain while sitting down.
Impact of Fasting on Hemorrhoids
Fasting does not directly lead to hemorrhoidal disease. However, the lack of food can cause constipation, a known risk factor in hemorrhoidal disease. Constipation worsens the symptoms experienced by a person suffering from hemorrhoids. In this case, fasting can aggravate the condition.
Constipation leads to prolonged sitting in the bathroom, increasing the likelihood of getting hemorrhoids. Dehydration is also a vital aspect of fasting. If your fasting method includes abstinence from drinks, including water, you will dehydrate your body. Dehydration can also lead to constipation and cause one to strain during bowel movements.
Basically, fasting is not the direct cause or cure of hemorrhoids. It can do either of those things depending on what you do after the fast. Let's take a closer look at how fasting can affect certain hemorrhoid causes. We will describe both the positive and negative aspects for your better understanding.
Obesity is a known cause of hemorrhoidal disease since it increases intra-abdominal pressure and puts stress on the anus. Fasting is a popular way to tackle this problem. It will restrict your food intake for a few hours, allowing your body to use its stored energy.
Fats and stored glycogen are used by the body to provide energy for its daily needs. Thus, fasting will not only help you reduce weight but will also boost your body's average metabolic rate. Reduced weight means less strain on your lower abdomen.
Since fasting boosts the body's metabolic rate, it prevents laziness. An active person will find it easier to be more productive and pursue a proactive lifestyle. You can incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Having an active lifestyle ensures that you are not sitting for prolonged periods. Keep in mind that sitting upright puts strain on the anus and is the leading cause of hemorrhoidal disease.
On the other hand, if your goal is to starve yourself by fasting, you are likely to laze around and sleep. Although not common, you can fast and still be prone to inactivity. While inactivity will not cause hemorrhoids to develop, it will most likely worsen present symptoms if you continue sitting for prolonged periods.
While you do abstain from eating during the fast, it will not strain your bowel movements. Since you will not be eating food, your digestive system will be able to relax. Constipation is caused when one resorts to strenuous or forced bowel movements due to the inability to pass stool.
Fasting actually aids in digestion and allows the digestive tract to heal. It can cause constipation only when it is combined with a poor diet.
Restriction of food intake followed by a diet lacking in roughage can cause constipation. This can lead to intra-abdominal pressure, resulting in strained bowel movements. Constipation can also irritate hemorrhoids and increase pain.
On the other hand, fasting and a diet high in fiber content can soften the stool. Foods rich in fiber, such as plant-based diets, relieve abdominal stress and allow for more effortless bowel movements. In this particular case, fasting can help prevent hemorrhoidal disease. Therefore, it all comes down to the type of food you consume.
Religious fasting can involve abstinence from food and drinks altogether. This will have dire consequences on a person affected by hemorrhoids. Lack of water causes severe dehydration and can lead to inflammation of hemorrhoids. Dehydration can also cause stool to become dry and hard, increasing the risk of trauma to the rectum walls.
In contrast, medical and intermittent fasting is based on the restriction of food and high-calorie drinks such as sodas and coffee. Water can be consumed to keep the person active throughout the day. This type of fasting also prevents diarrhea, a known irritant of hemorrhoids. Drinking lots of water and restricting food intake can help keep the digestive tract and rectum moist.
Fasting can help reduce the intensity, frequency, and symptoms of hemorrhoids. It can also aggravate the condition and increase pain. Therefore, it all depends on what you do after breaking the fast.
Drinking lots of water, exercising daily, and eating a plant-based diet combined with fasting can help prevent hemorrhoids and reduce the pain and symptoms in already-affected individuals. If you suffer from hemorrhoids, it is better to consult with your doctor before following a fasting plan!